Airbus Aerial looking beyond line of site


Airbus’s drone-services subsidiary Airbus Aerial will be working with the FAA to develop ‘beyond visible line of sight’ technologies.

The FAA’s unmanned aircraft integration program (IPP), spread over three years, has been developed by the FAA to advance drone regulation so as to help grow the US drone market. Airbus is the latest more than 150 participants.

As part of the partnership, Airbus Aerial will help expand current drone beyond visible line of sight (BVOLS) technologies and models. BVOLS regulations have been hampering the application of drones in commercial markets by prohibiting them from flying on commercial operations outside of the pilot’s line of sight.

Jesse Kallman, President of Airbus Aerial said: “Airbus Aerial’s participation in the Integration Pilot Program will expand our efforts in ‘beyond visible line of sight’ (BVLOS) drone operations, as well as in testing and validating safe operational models and new technologies.”

“This important work will help the US government to lay a foundation for drone operations in the United States.”

Airbus Aerial was setup in May last year at the innovation tradeshow AUVSI Xponential in Dallas, Texas. The start-up analyses imagery from drones for customers in the insurance, utilities and infrastructure markets. The IPP is based in Virginia and is funded by the state’s innovation and entrepreneurship investment authority.

BVLOS exemption

Just last month, Xcel became the first US operator to be granted exemption from the BVLOS regulation.

Companies such as Amazon have been promising drone parcel-delivery services for some undefined future date, but the FAA’s current  ban on drones from flying commercial operations outside of the pilot’s line of sight inhibits the market’s viability.

Xcel drone operations will start in the summer this year, operating on surveillance missions 20 miles north of Denver International airport, conducting powerline inspection operations.